Junk Feminism and Nuclear Wannabes: Collaging Parodies of Iran and North Korea

Citation:

Särmä, Saara. 2014. “Junk Feminism and Nuclear Wannabes: Collaging Parodies of Iran and North Korea.” PhD diss., Tampere University.

Author: Saara Särmä

Abstract:

Nuclear weapons have been a great source of intense negative sentiments, mainly fear, over the past 70 years. The intensity of these sentiments has fluctuated over the decades as the relative positions of and the relations between nuclear weapons states have shifted and changed. This doctoral dissertation deals with a different register of sentiments, equally familiar, but not often associated with the issue. It turns to sentiments that are more positive and examines laughter’s role in world politics. It focuses on the actors located at the bottom of the global nuclear order, namely nuclear wannabes. The global nuclear order is a hierarchy institutionalized in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which divides the world into nuclear haves and have-nots. Nuclear wannabes are those states that want to move from have-not to have by acquiring nuclear arsenals, i.e. Iran and North Korea. The dissertation explores (loosely western) everyday understandings of nuclear wannabes and argues that the global nuclear order is reproduced in humorous everyday representations of these states. It takes the internet and social media seriously as sites where everyday understandings are constituted. It argues that the knowledges produced in and through the internet are increasingly anecdotal and fragmented, and that humor and laughter play a role in the knowledge production and circulation. It looks at how laughter at actors depicted in internet parodies orders the global nuclear hierarchy, in particular, and orders the international more broadly. Furthermore, it examines the boundary conditions created by this laugher. The work situates theoretically in the transdisciplinary field of Feminist International Relations and sees gender as relational, performative, and hierarchical. To engage with the fragmented mode of knowledge and random collection of “stuff” (research material) an art based methodology is developed. Junk feminist collaging experiments with a playful mode of doing research, which advocates for openness and creativity in research; for modes of writing and expression that disrupt the hierarchical relationship with the author and the reader; and for doing research by making art. The collages created during the research process and presented as part of this dissertation are a unique intervention. This intervention challenges the priority of text over images in conventional academic modes of presenting research and invites the reader/viewer to participate actively in meaning making. The collages visualize the ways in which nuclear wannabes are gendered and sexualized, as these processes are central to the creation, recreation and maintenance of the hierarchical international order.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Weapons /Arms Regions: MENA, Asia, East Asia, Middle East Countries: Iran, North Korea

Year: 2014

© 2019 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.